The Flames returned to the dome after a brief road trip to California that saw them go 1 and 1. They won Saturday against LA in a tight checking affair and came into tonight with high hopes of winning their second straight game, a feat they haven’t reached for nearly two months.
The game was a good one. Unlike all previous Phoenix Coyotes vs. Calgary Flames games for all eternity, this one was actually relatively entertaining. It was appreciation night for the Canadian Armed Forces and the Dome was rocking. Captain Mark Giordano returned after a broken ankle, providing a huge upgrade on the backend. And as a effort would have it, the Flames scored more than the Coyotes and beat a team they don’t often beat. So, as the kids say, it was all good in the hood tonight.
The first period started off with your typical Phoenix strangle hold where they gave up very little. At 4:47, Doan fed Yandle sneaking in from the point. He whiffed on the shot a little bit but that worked to his benefit as it went right past a fooled Ramo to give the Yotes the lead. The Coyotes continued to dominate for the first half of the first period, generating essentially all of the chances. The Flames started turning the play the other way in the second half of the period. They tied it up with eight seconds left in the first with a similar play to the Coyotes first goal. The puck, after a nice Hudler zone entry and missed pass attempt, eventually made its way to a wide open Brodie at the point. He ripped one top right shelf where grandma keeps the hard candies. All square after one. Chances were 7-6 for Phoenix although the Flames were outshot 11-3.
The second continued to be an entertaining one. The Flames and Yotes traded shots back and forth before Backlund took a beautiful cross-ice feed from Hudler at 5:48 and beat Greiss over the right shoulder. At 11:46 on the PP, Gio let go a knuckle puck from the point that bobbled past Greiss to give the Flames the 3-1 lead going into the third. Chances were 6-5 for the Flames in the second with the Flames outshooting the Yotes 11-10.
The Flames kept right on rolling in the third. They took an early penalty which was quickly turned into a positive rather than a negative when Stajan made a great play to tap the puck off of Yandle at the blueline to create a two on one with Stempniak. Stajan carried the puck into the offensive zone faked the shot and dished it over to an open Stempniak at the side of the net who tapped in the shorty. The goal was the Flames 6th shorthanded goal of the year and puts them at the top of the league in that category. Chances were 5-3 for Phoenix in the third, which is a pretty good number for the home team given they were protecting a lead the whole time.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
The Flames deserved this one. They were the better team. The Flames generated a lot of chances against a team that doesn’t normally give many up, they outplayed a tired team that played the night before and almost everyone on the club played a good game with very few errors. Karri Ramo also turned in his second straight quality performance.
This was a tough one to call as there were a lot of Flames that played real well tonight. Unable to decide, I took it to the live chat and Gio came out as the clear favorite. The Captain was great in his return tonight. He had a goal and an assist, logged over 20 minutes in ice-time and was a real calming force out there.
Honorable mentions: Hudler, with two assists, was deadly in the offensive zone all night. Backs, potting his third goal of the year, looked great and Sven, even with limited ice-time, was good every time he was on the ice.
|Home||1||10:14||B Jones SH||5||19||31||32||44||1||3||11||17||23||63||4v5|
|Home||1||8:51||D Jones tip||3||13||18||31||54||55||1||3||5||14||24||29||5v5|
|Home||1||5:16||D Jones tip PP||4||7||13||24||31||54||1||14||23||26||29||5v4|
|Away||2||4:19||Vermette rebound PP||5||18||19||31||44||1||3||19||23||50||63||4v5|
|Home||3||17:16||Stempniak goal SH||3||7||11||17||31||1||14||23||26||29||34||4v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
The Flames played a good all-around game, beating a Coyotes team that has had their number over the years. They won their second game in a row tonight. They have only done this two other times this season and the last time was against Montreal and New Jersey in mid-October. With the win, they improve to 10-13-4 on the season.
Next up, Colorado on Friday and Edmonton on Saturday. Hopefully they can continue their strong play from the past two games and build on their longest winning streak in some time.